Matthew Flinders and his Friends

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


In all the ups and downs of his career, Matthew Flinders always knew he would get nowhere without his friends – and we have a vast amount of evidence from his letters and journals about what friendship meant to him and whom he regarded as his friends. ‘How extremely happy I have been in my friendships’, he wrote to George Bass. His wife, Ann, was ‘not only a beloved wife, but my most dear and most intimate friend’. He called Sir Joseph Banks ‘my greatest and best friend,’ but the Investigator ship’s cat Trim was also his friend and in turn Matthew was Trim’s ‘affectionate master and friend’. When he wrote towards the end of his life that he had gone to sea ‘against the wishes of my friends,’ he meant his father, who had opposed his wish to join the navy. Detained on Mauritius for more than 6 years, he made many life-long friends among the French inhabitants. He took friendship and its obligations extremely seriously and often went out of his way to repay a friend’s kindness.

In this talk, Dr Gillian Dooley, Honorary Senior Research Fellow from Flinders University with a long-standing interest in the life and times of Matthew Flinders, will go to Flinders’ own writings and other contemporary sources, to explore his affections and allegiances, and establish who his real friends were.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHistory Trust of SA
Place of PublicationAdelaide
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Matthew Flinders
  • Sir Joseph Banks
  • Trim
  • Ann Flinders


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